Constructive Dismissal

A constructive dismissal occurs when an employer changes an employee’s fundamental employment terms, such as their pay or hours, to the point that it makes it impossible for them to continue working. These changes can include taking away a salary increase, changing shifts or reducing the number of shifts available, relocating the work location, and other actions. If a worker feels that the change is so significant that they are forced to resign, then they can make a claim for constructive dismissal at an employment tribunal.

For example, Jane worked as a sales representative at a marketing firm. She took pride in her job and was a hard-working employee. However, she felt that her manager was constantly belittling and criticising her. Eventually, the criticism became so persistent that it started to affect her wellbeing. She could not bear the negative atmosphere anymore, so she decided to resign from her job. This can have serious consequences, especially if she does not have another job lined up. For example, it can appear that she quit her job without a reason and it may lead hiring managers to question future applications. This is why it is important for employees to have a plan in place in case they feel that their workplace conditions are intolerable.

Typically, before an employee terminates their contract, they will try to solve the situation by raising the issue with management, either verbally or in writing. This is an important step because if you raise the issue and the situation doesn’t improve, then you can bring a claim for constructive dismissal. In order to do this, you need to have physical and factual evidence of the intolerable working conditions.

Examples of Constructive Dismissal

The main requirement is that the behaviour must have been so severe that a reasonable person would be left with no choice but to resign. This includes behaviour such as bullying, harassment, disparagement or inappropriate jokes about a protected characteristic. However, it can also include things like assigning you an unrealistic workload and expecting you to meet unachievable targets. This type of behaviour can be difficult to prove, but only around 5% of claims at employment tribunals succeed in winning compensation.

Other examples of constructive dismissal lawyer near me include a failure to pay an employee, for instance when they are paid below the statutory minimum wage. This can also apply to any other contractual benefits that they were entitled to, for example company cars or enhanced maternity pay. Threats to dismiss an employee can also be considered a breach of contract and grounds for constructive dismissal.

There are many other cases where an employee can claim constructive dismissal, but it will depend on the specific circumstances of each individual case. For further advice on the best way to proceed, it is advisable to seek legal advice from an experienced employment law solicitor. You can find a qualified lawyer in your area by using our Find A Lawyer tool.